The quintet known as Vitium has brought a fresh sound out of Cleveland for over three years. The band's unique blend of funk, R&B, and hip hop, has garnered the attention of a growing audience from concert-goers and industry professionals alike. It has established itself as a dynamic live-performance band through concerts at some of Northeast Ohio's best venues, including the House of Blues main-stage and Caimbridge Room, Progressive Field, Blossom Music Center, and Beachland Ballroom. It has opened for such artists as The Average White Band, Here Come the Mummies, Rebelution, and Sponge. Vitium has been featured on 3 albums that have all reached number 1 on the Japanese iTunes hip hop charts. Dave Popovich, Vice President of Programming for CBS Radio Cleveland, notes the band's progress: "I've watched Vitium grow from a scrappy bunch of musicians with a dream, to a group who has written and performed great songs. This is a band to watch!"
2009 proved to hold big things for Vitium, including the release of its debut album, Oxygen Planet. Recorded at Cleveland's Ante Up Audio, the album was produced by multi-platinum award-winning artist Michael Seifert, who has worked with such artists as Tori Amos, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Kate Vogel. With songs like 'Sunshine' that feature catchy hooks and rock elements, soulful ballads like 'Never Looking Back', and the introspective hometown funk of 'My Life is Cleveland', Oxygen Planet is an album that demands to be heard. Carl Maduri, multi-platinum producer of 'Play that Funky Music', says: "The mix of pop, jazz, and funk along with the melodic production - especially keyboard arrangements and vocal style - gives the group Vitium a very radio-friendly album."
Oxygen Planet is already making a splash on the music scene, with songs from the album receiving play on numerous radio stations, including Clevelands Q104, Radio 92.3, 88.7 WJCU, 88.3 The Sting, Columbus CD101, and KRS One's Temple of Hip Hop online radio. The signing of the band to Japan's Goon Trax label paved the way for the album to make its international debut. Oxygen Planet hit the Japanese streets in October of 2009, with distribution and marketing displays in stores across the country as well as availability through all of the Japanese digital outlets. In addition to a professional redesign and packaging, the album also features a bonus track of one of Vitium's songs remixed by producer re:plus, which recently reached number 3 on the iTunes hip hop charts.
The members of Vitium hail from a broad range of backgrounds and musical influences, which help to create a diverse yet cohesive sound. Vocalist Nick Smalc first began in music singing with the Cleveland Orchestra Childrens Choir. He has since immersed himself in the world of hip hop, and has been writing music since studying at Fordham University. Guitarist Jesse Hernandez is a classically trained cellist and graduate of the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music who has long been playing blues and classic rock guitar. In addition to writing and performing his own collection of songs, Jesse has recorded for and performed with a number of groups, including Resonant Soul, Rosella, and Motion Room. Keyboard player Jerry Lang has been turning heads on the piano since he first performed at Carnegie Hall at the age of 14. An accomplished songwriter and producer, he has studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Bassist Nelson Morales has been a fixture in the Cleveland music scene for over 20 years. A veteran of many different bands, he is a self-taught artist who has combined his many influences to develop his own unique sound. Drummer Doug Tabbutt has studied drum set since he was 10 years old, and has played in everything from a Vegas blues bar-band to organ-only Baptist churches to filling in on tour for Keith & Kristyn Gettyand.
Vitium is quickly establishing itself as a band that must be seen, and with the release of their debut album, Oxygen Planet, they are sure to continue making a name for themselves.